Convert HT8200 into HT8000

For any of you unlucky buyers out their that have purchased an HT8200 thinking that it was an HT8000, or that it would actually let you take your recorded files off that device and skip adds, here is how you can make it work.

The Homecast HT8000 and HT8200 are essentially identical devices, with the difference of a “Freeview” (or a, we’ll restrict your view) sticker and some slightly different hardware. Thankfully, you can convert the HT8200 back into a HT8000 with a firmware “update”. The rest of what appears below isn’t my work, and is easily found at http://members.optusnet.com.au/nis200sx/ and remains the work of that person. I am placing a copy of it here, not to try and take credit from him, but rather to preserve the information (and methods) in the event that it is removed for some reason. I may also attempt to expand on his Method 2 and 3 at a later stage.

Oh, and before you try, the .TP0 files you have recorded on the HT8200 are useless unless you watch them on the HT8200 (with the freeview sucky firmware).

Loading HT8000 Firmware onto a HT8200


Question:

  • Why would anyone want to load HT8000 firmware (software) onto their HT8200 PVR?

Answer:

  • The benefits are easier file navigation (30sec and percentage jump buttons work)

  • Plus the recordings are not encrypted (and the USB type B port works for transferring to/from a Windows PC) so they can be played on a PC and converted to DVDs etc.

Question:

  • What am I losing by doing this?

Answer:

  • The downside is that any recordings already done with HT8200 firmware will no longer be playable.

Question:

  • How do I do it?

Answer:

  • There are 3 ways to get a HT8200 to accept HT8000 firmware. Below I will outline the 3 methods, from easiest to hardest. Note: The hardest method is the best method (I’ll explain why below).

Method 1 – Easiest

Download a copy of the HT8000 firmware that has already had the Model ID number changed to match the HT8200.

The benefit of this method is that it is extremely easy and you do not need any special skills or understanding of what’s being done. The downside is that you are reliant on me, or someone else, providing you access to a suitable firmware file any time Homecast release a newer version (assuming you want to keep the firmware up to date).

This firmware file will load on a HT8200 and turn it into a HT8000: Download 8200-to-8000-1048.zip (Mirror Download 8200-to-8000-1048.zip) Well, it will still say that it is a HT8200, with SW version 1.00.9A, but it will actually be running HT8000 SW version 1.04.8A.

After updating to this file you can still update to a normal HT8200 firmware file in future (the PVR still thinks it’s a HT8200). If you want to update to a newer HT8000 version (when the next one is released) you will need download the latest 8200-to-8000 zip file from this web-site. Each time a new HT8000 version is released I will try to put a new 8200-to-8000 file online.

Method 2 – Medium (not finished)

Download a copy of the HT8000 firmware and use a hex editor to change the Model ID number yourself.

The benefit of this method is that you are not reliant on anyone else doing the editing for you, so it is easier to keep the firmware up to date.

I will update this page soon to explain how…

Method 3 – Harder (not finished)

Download a copy of softwareclean.bin and upload it to your HT8200 using Homecast’s Upgrade application and a null-modem serial cable.

The benefit of this method is that it only needs be done once. After loading softwareclean.bin your HT8200 won’t know what it is until you then load some firmware onto it. At this point you can load ANY firmware onto – Be CAREFUL!!! After loading a regular, unedited, HT8000 firmware onto your HT8200 from then on it will think that it is a HT8000, so when HT8000 updates are released in future you can just update using the regular HT8000 firmware from the Homecast website.

I will update this page soon to explain how…

(Mirror Download SoftwareClean.bin)

12 thoughts on “Convert HT8200 into HT8000

  1. Thanks for the HT8200 to HT8000 coversion method 1, it worked and I can now play .tp0 files recorded with the pvr using MPEG Streamclip and then convert the format to MPEG 🙂 If you can keep this information up-to-date I would be very grateful. Ben

  2. Hmm Perhaps this is why the Homecast Forum has been made unavailable for the past month.

    Remove the support and software for the HT8000.

  3. Thanks for the info

    but when i try option 3 and try to load on 8000 firmware i get model mismatch (error2) and when i try to load on modified firmware it downloads on to the stb but as soon as it installs i get a checksum error (error9) ??

    any ideas i have searched around but there is not much out there… on these errors

    thanks

  4. I keep getting an error 7 when I try to convert. I have downloaded from the mirror and loaded it with no changes. Any help would be appreciated… thanks

  5. Hi I am going to convert my HT8200 to a HT8000 using your download. Is the link using the most up to date firmware?

  6. Method 3 does not work because the softwareclean.bin does not change the model number from 2700 to 2000. This may be a restriction introduced by Homecast in order to stop people doing just what we are – removing the limitations imposed by Freeview Australia. You will notice that the link to the homecast.com.de download site does not work, and that you now have to hunt around for a copy. I wonder if the original poster (nis200sx) has a copy…..
    Only options 1 and 2 will work, so option 2 is actually your best bet. I used softwareclean to remove the Freeview cripled firmware, changed the 8000 firmware in ONLY the area specified (2000 to 2700) and left the 8000 firmware version number so that I would know which 8000 firmware was installed and used that.
    All is well, the system functions just like an 8000 so I’m happy.

  7. Hi everyone. I no longer have one of these boxes, and the one I did this on is still working without any firmware upgrades at my sisters house. I’m unable to assist any more than mirroring content. If you need any of the firmware’s or things mirrored for easy finding, then please email me using the contact form, and give me a link to download it, and I’ll mirror it here for easy finding.

    Tim

  8. Hi.
    I have a HT8200 and I was going to do a 8000 firmware conversion. I understand that if I do this I will then be able to SKIP ads. Is there a special button for this? Can the skip time be set?

    Thanks.

  9. Method 1 works well for me. Lindsay, yes, it will allow you to skip ads- skips are in 30sec increments, using the right arrow button on the remote.

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